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Riders see poker run as good deal

POSTED: September 16, 2013 8:22 p.m.
Photo by Paul Floeckher/

Bikers pull into the Alibi's parking lot to conclude the poker run.

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After Rory Myers rode his motorcycle more than a hundred miles from Augusta to Rincon on Saturday morning, another 40 or so miles was no big deal.


But the reason for that 40-mile ride was a big deal to Myers — which is why he joined other bikers in a poker run to benefit for the Effingham Victim Witness Assistance Program.


Myers, 22, said he heard about the fundraiser from his girlfriend, who lives in Effingham. He rode from his home in Augusta, participated in the poker run around Effingham and then drove right back home.


“It’s a ride, man,” Myers explained. “I’m telling you, all bikers (enjoy this). It’s a donation-type event, and that’s what I did it for.”


Poker run organizer Nancy Powell couldn’t wait to meet Myers after receiving a phone call from his mother on Friday about his plans to participate. Powell thanked him and gave him a big hug before he headed home.


“That’s awesome. That means a lot,” she said of Myers’ willingness to support the cause.


Powell — recognized around town as “Dancin’ Nancy” — is one of the nine contestants in this year’s Effingham Dancing with the Stars. All proceeds from DWTS, and the participants’ fundraisers leading up to it, go to the Effingham Victim Witness Assistance Program.


“It means the world to me (to help EVWAP),” Powell said. “I’m just ecstatic about it. I love to help people.”


The third annual Effingham Dancing with the Stars will be Oct. 12 at Effingham County High School. For more information, visit http://evwap.org.


While poker runs typically involve motorcyclists, Powell opened it to any vehicles in hopes of raising more money. Powell said she chose a poker run as her DWTS fundraiser because she knows that many people enjoy them.


“I haven’t seen it in the two years prior, so I thought ‘what a great event,’” she said. “Whatever (money) we pulled in, I was going to be pleased with.”


The nearly $700 raised from the poker run will count toward Powell’s popular vote, the competition among DWTS contestants to receive the most donations. More importantly, all the funds will assist EVWAP in helping victims and witnesses of violent crime.


EVWAP provides services such as crisis counseling, temporary protective orders, agency referrals, court advocacy and school programs about bullying and dating violence. The majority of the people helped are domestic violence victims.


“The more that we can be visible in the community, that is a plus for Victim Witness,” said EVWAP Executive Director Ann Resto. “A lot of people just don’t know who we are.”


Whereas most victim witness agencies are affiliated with a district attorney’s office, Resto said, Effingham’s is a stand-alone non-profit agency. EVWAP relies entirely on funding sources such as United Way contributions, Victims of Crime Act grant money and victim compensation from fines offenders pay.


“It’s only a small percentage of our budget, so everything else has to come from donations and fundraisers,” Resto said. “But the community is very receptive.”


That was evidenced by the response to the poker run. The entrants paid $10 for registration and $5 for each additional poker hand, while several local businesses donated $3,700 worth of gift cards and other prizes for the participants.


Plans are already being made for the poker run to be an annual fundraiser for Effingham Dancing with the Stars.


“I’m already looking forward to next year,” Powell said.

Effingham Dancing with the Stars
• When: Oct. 12
• Where: Effingham County High School
• What: Fundraiser of Effingham County Victim Witness Assistance Program. A silent auction begins at 6 p.m. with refreshments, and the program starts at 7 p.m.
• Tickets: $15 apiece, $120 for a table for 8, $180 for a table of 12. To reserve a table or make a donation on behalf of one of the contestants, visit http://evwap.org.

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